RENTON Colin Kaepernick is going to sign with an NFL team soon.
That is the opinion of Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks No. 1 wide receiver has consulted with the unsigned former San Francisco 49ers quarterback over each star player’s social activism over the past year.
Baldwin spoke following Seattle’s organized-team-activity practice Tuesday. It was the day after the Seahawks passed on Kaepernick and signed 28-year-old journeyman Austin Davis instead to be their backup to Russell Wilson.
Davis and Kaepernick made free-agent visits with the Seahawks in the same week last month. Kaepernick, 29, is just one year older than Davis. He has started a Super Bowl and 48 more games in his career than Davis has. Yet it was Davis wearing number 6 in a red jersey while third in Seattle’s quarterback rotation during Tuesday’s organized-team-activity practice at Seahawks headquarters--while Kaepernick remained unemployed, one month from the start of NFL training camps.
“The organizations, they are going to be giving the younger quarterbacks and the younger guys the first and second look,” Baldwin said. “They know what Colin can do. They know that’s he’s a starter in this league, so they are going to give every opportunity to the young guys to compete, show their talents and then whatever falls, then he’ll get an opportunity once all this dust settles.”
That “dust” includes the fallout from Kaepernick taking knees in protest during national anthems prior to games last season. Evidence is increasing, if not irrefutable now, that Kaepernick is paying a price for those protests by NFL teams refusing to sign him to one of the league’s 64 starting or backup QB jobs.
That dust also includes money. No matter what you read and hear, Colin Kaepernick comes at a higher cost for 2017 than Austin Davis. Period. The Seahawks and every other NFL team has a salary cap to manage and fit within, and saving money for a player they never plan on playing -- in a perfect world, Wilson stays injury-free this and every year -- is a business decision.
But money is only part of this story, of course.
Baldwin talked last fall with Kaepernick at the height of the national controversy over Kaepernick’s protests -- and when Baldwin, a son of a veteran law-enforcement officer in Florida, was meeting with Washington’s attorney general and calling on all states to change the way it trains and regulates police officers in the use of excessive force.
Does Baldwin feel Kaepernick is still unsigned because he’s being blackballed by NFL teams for his protests and social activism?
“I can’t say that it doesn’t completely. I think, yeah, to some degree. But I think that’s really minor,” Baldwin said.
“There’s 32 teams out there. Not all of them fully care about all of that.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to have a job here rather quickly.”
Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner was incredulous over why Kaepernick doesn’t have one by now, five months after he and the 49ers parted ways.
“I am surprised,” Wagner said, who has played against Kaepernick since he was in college ball at Nevada and Wagner was in the same, Mountain West Conference at Utah State through 2010. “There are a lot of great things about him, you know, being able to run, being able to get some throws out.
“I really don’t know why he doesn’t have a job.
“That’s really not my (expertise). You know, whenever I become a GM or owner of a team, then I will give you guys a different answer.
“But I don’t know why. He’s definitely a great player. He should have a job.”